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Phones Were the MVP of Holiday Retail—and This Firm Has the Data to Prove it

The holiday season represents a potential goldmine for retailers each year. But in 2019, shoppers were interacting with their favorite stores differently than they have in the past.

The 2019 peak shopping season saw more browsing and buying on mobile devices than ever before, according to data from consumer insight and digital strategy firm Contentsquare.

Phone scrolling actually accounted for the vast majority (68 percent) of retail traffic during the whole 2019 shopping season, from Nov. 15 through Dec. 24. Contentsquare’s data showed a 1 percent increase in mobile use year over year, coinciding with a 6 percent decrease in shopping on desktop computers.

The use of tablets increased by one-fifth (21 percent) from 2018, but still only accounted for 5 percent of total traffic.

While the overall shopping season saw an average conversion rate of roughly 3 percent, conversions peaked during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period, reaching about 4 percent. This represented a 41 percent increase in the average conversion rate on those shopping holidays when compared with the rest of the season.

Consumers’ online cart values balanced out at $150.56 on average throughout the season, but the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period drove a spike in spending. The average cart value shot up more than 10 percent during the Thanksgiving week, reaching an average of $166.43.

Mobile shoppers spent even more during the shopping holidays, with average cart values up nearly 12 percent.

Online shoppers viewed six pages on average throughout the whole holiday shopping season, spending an average of seven minutes perusing each page. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, though, the average number of page views jumped 8 percent and session times stretched by 20 percent.

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Contentsquare found that visitors spent 11 percent more time on each webpage they visited during Thanksgiving week sales than they did during the overall shopping season.

Analysts also found that bounce rates reached their lowest point of the year during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, coming in at approximately 37 percent. That’s more than 4 percent lower than the rest of the holiday period (about 39 percent) and more than 10 percent lower than the average bounce rate for the year (48 percent), proving that retailers’ deals and marketing efforts made an impression.

“Our data reveals many interesting user behavior trends that retailers would benefit from making note of and refining their online user experiences accordingly to ultimately increase sales and revenue,”Aimee Stone Munsell, Contentsquare’s chief marketing officer, said.

Shoppers are persistent about taking advantage of the season’s best deals, and are eager to get their shopping done during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Munsell said.

“This held true even though these online events came later in the season, so it’s clear people’s habits are now conditioned to these retail ‘holidays,'” she said.